What do most people do when they start to experience pain? As a society, we have relatively easy access to medications to numb our experience of pain.
Most people, when confronted with an aching back, or even a minor headache, reach for the aspirin, or worse, a prescription painkiller.
The statistics are shocking, with at least 116 millions Americans suffering from chronic pain and this number is growing.
It’s becoming obvious that conventional medicine is failing us, opioids and aspirin can only mask the symptoms. If we truly want to heal, we must get to the root of the issue.
What is causing so much chronic pain for hundred of millions of people every day? The answer is multi-faceted, as people experience pain for a multitude of reasons.
What we can analyze, is the bodies natural response to pain, inflammation, and how we can work to reduce it, instead of just cover it up.
My goal isn’t to tell sufferers of chronic pain to go off their prescriptions cold turkey. What I aim for is to elevate awareness of inflammation, what it is and how we can work toward relieving it.
When multiple strategies are put in place, there is hope for people suffering from chronic pain, diabetes, and even cancer, without addictive drugs.
What Causes Chronic Inflammation
The research clearly demonstrates that inflammation begins in the gut. You can have a seemingly unrelated ailment which manifests in complete isolation from the gut, but it still originated there.
Our guts are highly sensitive and semi-permeable, if you’ve ever grieved deeply or even just had a bad argument, odds are you aren’t in the mood to eat anything.
That’s because we’re not meant to digest and assimilate food when we are in an anxious state. But because many people live in a state of chronic stress, and obviously still need to eat, this leads to increased gut permeability, over time this can cause leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome occurs due to damaged microvilli of our gut lining not being able to do their job effectively. Undigested food, bacteria and viruses and able to pass through the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream.
This initiates an auto-immune response and manifests as allergies, poor digestion/absorption and eventually can turn in to all of the ailments listed above.
Other Causes of Inflammation
Poor gut health/lack of probiotics/overuse of anti-biotics
Bad food choices ex.trans fats, refined sugar and carbohydrates, fast food etc.
Overtraining (there is such thing as too much exercise)
Low dietary omega-3 fatty acids
High omega-6 fatty acids
Mineral and vitamin deficiencies
Exposure to environmental toxins
Overweight (visceral fat)
How to Reduce Excess Inflammation Naturally
There’s been a lot of research into reducing inflammation with certain natural medicines and supplements.
Combined with a healthy lifestyle, exercise and assuring an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, you can drastically reduce inflammation and its manifested ailments in the body.
Dr. Weil is a well known advocate of eating a diet of anti-inflammatory foods, he even designed a specific anti-inflammatory food pyramid highlighting the best foods for reducing inflammation.
While this is a good guide, I would take it one step further and avoid gluten as well, gluten has an inflammatory reaction in most people and is completely unnecessary for achieving optimal health and vibrance.
I would also not consume soy as most of it is GMO and it contains harmful estrogen mimickers.
An abundance of vegetables and fruits is the core of the anti-inflammatory diet. These foods, rich in nutrients are essential and the more you can consume of them, the better.
Other excellent food choices for reducing inflammation include wild salmon, antioxidant rich dark chocolate, red wine, mushrooms, avocado, walnuts, apple cider vinegar, flax and chia seeds to name a few.
Gluten and Inflammation
A recent study showed gluten promotes inflammation, even in healthy, allergy free individuals. While it would be wise to remove gluten from the diet altogether when trying to reduce inflammation, it shouldn’t be replaced with common gluten free breads and treats.
These foods are filled with preservatives and other strange ingredients.
Instead, opt for healthy homemade gluten free breads such as those made with coconut flour. Better yet, replace your morning toast with a nourishing high protein breakfast of steamed sweet potato, vegetables and eggs or a superfood high protein smoothie.
It may take some getting used to, but if you go this route your inflammation will subside and the change will be worth it.
The Right Fats to Fight Inflammation
I mentioned above that an imbalance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids can add to inflammation. Our modern diets are very high in omega-6 fatty acids, commonly found in canola, soy, sunflower and olive oil and grains.
The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 consumption is about 2:1. Anthropological research shows that our ancestors consumed a ratio closer to 1:1 and they were completely free of the inflammatory diseases we see in abundance today.
Modern ratios suggest most people are at a 10:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 and some schools estimate it could be as drastic as 25:1, but what are the implications?
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, and omega-6 can be as well, yet when they are present in such high levels they are pro-inflammatory and put you at higher risk of degenerative disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are so crucial to our health in a number of other ways but most people just aren’t getting enough of them.
Taking a high quality fish oil supplement and eating plenty of wild fish are your best options for getting highly bioavailable omega-3’s. Vegans might want to opt for flax, chia and hemp seed oils to supply their daily quota.
Juicing and Smoothies
Raw fresh juices and smoothies have endless benefits, where else can you get such an abundance of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. By nature these are all important components of reducing inflammation and initiating deep healing.
Studies have found that particularly cherry juice and mangosteen juice hold promising effects on reducing inflammation. Adding fresh ginger, garlic and turmeric to your juices will up the ante and add even more anti-inflammatory compounds.
Raw green juices and smoothies are great source for dark leafy greens rich in magnesium and other minerals correlated with reduced inflammation. Vitamin C is another nutrient correlated with reduced inflammation.
Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Supplements
Most common culinary herbs and spices are anti-inflammatory, and they make your food delicious! Consume basil, oregano, mint, sage, bay, garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne,cinnamon and mustard to your hearts content.
Particularly good at reducing inflammation is the renowned turmeric root, study after study show the amazing benefits of this bright yellow root.
Green tea extract has been utilized to reduce inflammation and in one study along with resveratrol and the results were promising.
Krill oil, an omega-3 supplement derived from tiny krill, reduces chronic inflammation and alleviated arthritis.
The elimination diet is the ultimate strategy to weed out any potential underlying food allergies which could be contributing to the inflammatory response.
Developed by Dr.Crook in 1987 it is implemented by removing the most common allergenic foods from the diet for 21 days and then slowly added back in one by one within 3-5 days of one another.
This time frame gives you a chance to witness your bodies inflammatory response to certain foods, ex. you break out in eczema when you eat dairy. Many more people are developing food allergies and they can also appear as we start to age.
In conjunction with an elimination diet, actively trying to cleanse toxins out of the body is another potential therapy for relieving inflammation. Our bodies could be having an inflammatory response to foreign toxins we’ve been storing in our tissues.
This article was originally published on www.rootandaprouts.com.